2010 Sporting Events Calendar
A calendar of the best sporting events 2010 has to offer.
Polo World Cup on Snow: 1st Jan - 31st Jan, St. Moritz
As English team Captain Henry Brett once said, “to most, polo isn’t a sport, it’s an image”. If your only experience with Polo is buttoning your shirt in the morning then you need to make your way to the jetsetters playground of St Moritz, Switzerland for the 2010 Polo World Cup. Traditionally considered a British elite pastime, polo walks a delicate line between power and grace, human control and animal instincts, and the World Cup has no shortage of thoroughbred horses and equally well bred riders.
What makes this event extraordinary is that the whole game is played out on a snow turf covering the frozen lake of St Moritz, with the Alps looming beyond like a row of shark’s teeth. The tournament regularly makes the society pages of newspapers around the world, so this could be your chance to drink champagne with Europe's blueblood. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and find yourself in a candid with Prince William.
Six Nations Rugby: Feb 6th – March 26
The six nations in question are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – and because of the notable exclusion of the big names in rugby hailing from the southern hemisphere it's considered to be the european championship. The competition layout is simple: each team plays each other once, if you win you get two points if you draw you get one, and the winner is the team with the greatest number of points at the end. The grounds vary, but usually include some or all of the following: London's Twickenham, Dublin's Croke Park, Rome's Stadio Flaminio, Edinburgh's Murrayfield, Paris's Stade de France and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Super Bowl Sunday: Feb 7th, Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
The Super Bowl is the National Football League’s showcase as the National Football Conference (NFC) champion faces off against the American Football Conference (AFC) title holder. Not only does the Super Bowl display the best two teams in the NFL for the given season, it's also Christmas day for big time advertisers and companies across the nation. The pre-game show and the half-time show are usually rich with high profile stars: recently, artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Prince, and Janet Jackson - complete with a wardrobe malfunction. This is the ultimate in sporting events and a pseudo national holiday with one-day food consumption coming in a close second to Thanksgiving.
And not only is the NFL a one-day holiday in your living room, but for the host city Miami it's a week-long series of events: from parties to benefits, and functions that take place up to the day of the game. In 2010, the Miami Dolphins get the chance to host the game. So what’s the best way to watch all the action? For sports fan, it is to be there, to be immersed in the event. While a ticket anywhere in the stadium means you get to watch the Super Bowl live, you cannot beat the 50-yard line lower level sideline seat. You get the best view of the game and of course the half-time show.
Vancouver Winter Olympics: Feb 12th –28th
In 2010 Vancouver and Whistler get to host the 21st (or XXI) Winter Olympics, a snow and ice festival including 86 sporting events. Some of the highlights will probably be the Luge, Figure Skating, Bobsleigh, Ice Hockey and Snowboarding – mostly because those are the sports that come up best for television viewers. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are usually the biggest ticket events – and 2010 is the first time in Olympic history that the Opening Ceremony will be held indoors.
You've been able to buy tickets since October 2008 so I hope you have yours by now – if not it's not too late, but be quick, it's not long now and all those Olympians must be starting to get nervous...
Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta: March 6th –13th
As well as the better known Winter Olympics, Canada is also the 2010 host of the Arctic Winter Games, which is like the Winter Olympics, but only for the proper winter nations. No part time snow nations take part, this games is strictly for the coolest of the cool: Greenland, Alaska, Russia's Yamalo-Nenets, the Sami Nations, and five Canadian teams, from the Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik, the Northern Territories and Northern Alberta. And the events reflect the competing nations – as well as ice hockey, skiing and snowboarding, more traditional Inuit games, like the 'Alaskan high kick' and the 'head pull' are contested, and there are dog mushing competitions.
2010 Dubai World Cup : Saturday 27 March
The Dubai World Cup is encapsulated in one fact: it's the world’s richest horse race with a purse of almost US$ 10 million going to the winner. The brainchild of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai World Cup is a fitting tribute to his love of horses, the gentlemanly sport of horseracing and of the accoutrements of wealth. Depending on your views you are either going to be bowled over by the event or offended by the decadency.
Held just outside of this ‘rich man’s playground’, the Dubai World Cup is always going to be an illustrious affair, but the vision and money of its creator is something to behold. The track is state of the art, but some may find the flat course slightly tame…though the amount of money at stake is enough to inject excitement into any race.
Kentucky Derby: May 1st, Churchill Downs
There are three places to experience the Kentucky Derby: Millionaire’s Row, the Infield and Turn One. On Millionaire’s Row you're up close to the spectacle with the trainers, owners and the odd celebrity. Turn One is more a family-picnic setting, but the Infield is where you’re likely to witness something not often seen at other race meetings.
For some reason the party set occupy the area around theThird Turn, creating an atmosphere somewhere between Mardi Gras and one of the apocalyptic communities in Mad Max running amok. With the help of coolers full of alcohol, a party vibe soon permeates the grounds, peppering the air with “Woo Hoos!!!” and shouts for girls to pull their tops up or down – which get a better response than you'd think – so much for young 'ladies' being turned away from Ascot for spaghetti straps! Don’t be surprised if you don’t actually see the race from Infield – indeed many patrons of the Infield don’t actually realise that it’s running. That the toilet queues are usually longer than betting ones may give you get an idea of the main priorities.
The Grand National: 8th - Saturday 10th, Aintree
The Grand National is one of the most famous steeplechases in the world, attracting a global audience of around 600 million viewers every year. The four-and-a-half miles are a thrilling spectacle as horses jump, tumble and sprint towards the finishing line, where glory beckons riders over the final resting place of race legend, Red Rum’s.
The Grand National is the crescendo of a three day sporting event that is one of the highlights of the British racing calendar. Aintree has a unique and thrilling atmosphere on this April weekend: champagne flows and the race meetings provide an amazing social event, one of the few sporting events that can still claim to get the whole nation’s attention, with over £100 million being placed in bets in the UK.
UEFA Champions League Final: Saturday May 22nd, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
2010 marks the 55th UEFA Championship League Final. No one knows which of the 76 teams in the competition will be playing in this high stakes final, but Barcelona are the defending Champions, and we know it's going to be played at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid.
Heated competition started on the 22nd of June...So there's still a chance of seeing a game before the big one.
Monaco Grand Prix: 23rd May
Few race tracks in the world have the glamour and prestige of Formula One's Grand Prix de Monaco. The circuit de Monaco speeds all over Monte Carlo’s city streets and famous harbour, and seeing the cars scream round the city - navigating the tight hairpins and passing the luxurious yachts - is an experience racing enthusiasts cherish.
Even though overtaking is nigh on impossible on the tight corners and narrow roads, the Monaco Grand Prix is often one of the most dramatic races on the Formula One calendar. To see this world-famous race planning is key: pretty much everything needs to be reserved. Most Formula One fans stay in Nice, Cannes or Menton, as these are usually cheaper and not fully booked a year in advance, but a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix is a holiday to the high life. The wealthy watch from the Hotel Hermitage, while the super rich watch from their yachts – and then there’s the Grimaldis, who see the race start and finish from the Royal Box.
French Open: 24th May - 6th June, Stade Roland Garros
Stade Roland Garros was built to host the 1928 Davis Cup final, but has become one of the finest sport venues in the world. The stadium has a foot in France’s tennis past, with many of the venue's features named in honour of famous French players and the strong ties to the past give the French Open a certain grandiosity only on the Grand Slam Tournament by Wimbledon.
But it's not all historic prestige, these clay courts are considered some of the most physically demanding playing surfaces around, and clay-court specialists such as Rafa Nadal bring the drama and the crowds.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa: 11th June – 11th July
Since its return to the international world of sporting in 1994, South Africa has hosted a multitude of major international events, from the Rugby World Cup to the Cricket World Cup, proving to be a congenial host, with world-class transport, telecommunications, tourism and sporting infrastructure.
When choosing the best country to host FIFA 2010, the organizers looked at all of the above, added to that the local passion for the “beautiful game” and settled on South Africa. 26 international teams have qualified, and they'll play heated matches up and down the country, from Johannesburg to Durban, to Cape Town to Pretoria. The draw for the games to be played will be announced on December 4.
By 2010, football fans will enjoy the benefits of multibillion-rand infrastructure projects which include building and renovating ten stadiums, upgrades to the country's airports, and improvements to the country's road and rail network, including getting a new high speed rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and Johannesburg Airport up and running.
Wimbledon 21st June – 4th July, Wimbledon
Wimbledon has hosted some memorable tennis matches: the 1980 final between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg which saw Borg come out on top, the 1999 final between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi that some cite as the greatest display of grass court tennis ever, with Agassi remarking on his opponent: ‘today he walked on water’. There was also the 2008 final that saw Rafa Nadal overcome Roger Federer in one of the most fiercely competitive and brilliant matches witnessed. Wimbledon has its fair share of legends and these will rouse together again between June 21st and July 4th 2010 to create that special Wimbledon atmosphere at the SW19 venue.
There's more to Wimbledon than the great tennis. The atmosphere is one of a by-gone era, English tranquillity lingers still amongst the strawberries and cream before the roars of Henman Hill or Murray Mound, are heard backing the latest British hope. Yes, the weather doesn’t always live up to expectations but that’s half the Wimbledon experience - though in 2009 they debuted the magic roof - and the atmosphere in the stands and also in the compound is enough to get you through the delays, even if the Pimms isn’t.
Tour de France: Saturday 3rd July - Sunday 25th July
Finding a way to fit in both your sightseeing and that vital fix of sport can be extremely difficult, especially during the summer when most competitions have their break. One way of getting some great sport in and seeing a whole country is visiting France during the Tour De France.
The 2010 race, over almost 3,600km, will start with an 8km prologue in Rotterdam then run along the North Sea before heading into Belgium. The second stage chases through the Liège-Bastogne-Liège stretch, while leaders will have to be extremely cautious in the third stage, which features the treacherous cobbled sections, Paris-Roubaix. The 2010 Alpine stages aren't supposed to be too arduous, but theres's a one-stage detour in the Jura mountains which is expected to prove tricky and 56km of climb over the last 120km in the seventh stage to Station des Rousses. Those who survive the Pyrenees will then head to Bordeaux after the last rest day on 21st of July before a final individual, 51km time-trial to Pauillac through the Bordeaux vineyards. The end of the race always takes place at the Champs-Elysees, and reaching it unscathed is a supreme honour and triumph for the riders, leading to scenes of jubilation at the finishing line, followed by Parisian parties.
Watching people ride past you on bicycles isn't to everyone's taste, but the closing Paris stage adds a real buzz to the city as the teams come to the end of a difficult three week event and are ready to celebrate.
Henley Regatta: 30th June - 4th July
The 2010 Henley Regatta will be raced over five days, in a series of mile long paddling sprints contested by international teams, who will probably be enjoying both the history and charm of the event, and probably also appreciating the chic style surrounding it – think hats, nice dresses and clinking champagne glasses.
Each race in the regatta takes the form of a knockout competition, each consisting of two crews racing side by side up the Henley course. While stewards say they don't rank the crews coming into the event, the really exciting pairings always seem to happen towards the end of the Regatta.
One Day International Cricket England V Australia: 3rd July, Lords
If British cricket has a home, Lord's could very well be it. And seeing as British cricket is the father or grandfather of most great cricketing nations then this site takes on a rather auspicious air. Over one hundred Test matches have been played at Lord's, the first in 1884 when England defeated Australia by an innings and 5 runs. Australia's first win was in 1888 by 61 runs – so a one day game between these two nations on this hallowed ground is pretty much a cricketing pilgrimage.
Scottish Golf Open: 8th – 11th July, Loch Lomond
The Scottish Open has been held on the stream criss-crossed Loch Lomond course since 1996 and will be there again in 2010. Behind the course are the mountains and along the perfect edges of the greens are woods – but don't let the beauty distract you from the golf at hand. Tee time is 7:30 am and from then on it's world class golf all the way all day.
2010 World Lacrosse Championship: 15th - 24th July, Manchester
If you didn't know the world had 31 serious Lacrosse playing nations then this is your awakening. The 2010 event being held at Manchester University is the biggest so far and promises to be a festival of the game as well as a competition. Apparently there's even an opportunity for beginners to have a 'crack'.
Golf Open Championships: 15th - 18th July, St. Andrews
'The Open' is the oldest of the world's major golfing championships – the 2010 event marks 150 years since the first Open was held. The purse is around £4.2 million for whoever wins on the 72 par St. Andrew's course, another historic golfing fixture.
US Open Tennis: Monday, Aug 30th - Sunday, Sept 12th
From Rhode Island to Pennsylvania to its 2010 venue, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, the US Open has evolved into a two-week sports and entertainment extravaganza. In 2007 Grand Slam attendance was in excess of 700, 000 people, and 2010 hopes to draw more to this vibrant affair that also attracts some of the top talent on the tennis circuit.
The American fans are boisterous and good-fun, especially if a homegrown player such as Andy Roddick or a Williams sister is on court. Food is also something that the US Open does exceedingly well, from a host of exclusive restaurants and bars to the more straight-forward food village that has most types of food, no matter what you’re hankering for. Opt for exclusivity and you never know who you’re going to bump into, with a plethora of celebrities also popping up annually.
Commonwealth Games 2010: Oct. 3rd -14th. New Delhi
New Delhi's 2010 Games are only the 19th Commonwealth Games, and will be the largest sporting event Delhi has ever hosted. The popular-with-the-viewing-public Opening Ceremony will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and huge attendance is expected, but tickets to some of the less well known and loved events are still available if you fancy seeing some Badminton, Lawn Bowls, Netball or Squash.
The Melbourne Cup: Nov 2nd
Does every country have a ‘Race that stops the nation’? An event so important and well loved that for three minutes a year pretty much everyone in the country is glued to their screen watching horses run around a track? The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s and does just that. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like horse racing, if you’re an avid animal rights activist or leader of a chapter of Gamblers Anonymous, if you’re in Australia at around 3pm on the first Tuesday in November, you’ll probably still find yourself in front of a telly.
Usually warm and sunny, there is a feeling of anticipation all day. In Victoria it’s a public holiday, but throughout the rest of the country Cup Day is a good reason for a little extra festival, most offices have a sweep, people drink champagne (more than they would on a regular Tuesday) and women wear hats. The closer you can get to the Flemington Race Course the more cup fever takes hold. You could easily find yourself picnicking on the lawn wearing your best racing garb or peering over the rails as race after race is run leading up to the big countdown…
The Ashes 2010-2011: 25th Nov. - 7th Jan 2011
With the satirical obituary for the death of English Cricket, 'the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia' printed in The Sporting Times in 1882, cricket's most celebrated rivalry was born. Alternately played in England and Australia, the series becomes the talk of the back pages – and sometimes the front – and will do again in 2010 when played down under.
The 2010 Ashes tour hits cricket grounds in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne's MCG has great bounce and pace conditions for wickets and is the biggest venue with over 100 000 seats, while the Adelaide Oval is one of the most aesthetically pleasing venues with great wicket conditions.
Wherever the Ashes are held, you can always be sure of a great atmosphere at the grounds. Australian and English relations are a great point of good-natured banter flinging between the two sets of fans, whose will for their team to win is infectious and adds a great edge to the spectacle as the two old foes go for it out on the pitch.
And the 2010 Wild Card Entry
Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling: Monday 31st May, Cooper's Hill
Ever felt that there’s something missing in your life? This may be the answer…Every year, Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, England plays host to the Cheese Rolling Contest during the Spring Bank Holiday.
Ok, so it might not be the most prestigious event on the 2010 sporting calendar, but witnessing the spectacle of men and women running down a steep hill chasing after a wheel of cheese is an event that fills the heart with an unexpected joy. The precise history is something of a mystery with some historians believing it to pre-date Roman times and others to believe it is a heathen festival to celebrate the return of spring.
For such a clearly odd sport, it is fantastically thrilling. This may be due to some sort of guilty pleasure found in participants falling and sometimes hurting themselves (ambulances are usually required at the event) but everyone comes to have a laugh and do something a bit different for the day, helping you forgetting all the other rubbish in your life for a bit and just enjoy yourself.
P.S. The winner takes home a cheese: a 7-8lb Double Glouchester, but not the same one they chase down the hill.
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